DURBAN - Provincial and city leaders have promised 500 new homes - with construction starting next month - to residents of Mariannridge following days of rioting in the area and land invasions in the area.
Ravi Pillay, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works and Councillor Mondli Mthembu, eThekwini Municipality’s Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Chairperson met with community leaders at Mariannhill Police Station.
Pillay revealed that a housing development was imminent with the construction camp to be set up on Monday in order for construction to take place no later than September 14 this year.
"The contractor will be on site as of next week Monday. I can assure you that work has been done, a contractor has been appointed and a contract has been signed. The contractor is ready to hit the ground running," Pillay said.
The housing project will be done in two phases, 350 units will be constructed in Phase 1 on land that is immediately available and 150 units in Phase 2 will be built later because there is a lack of vacant land. The project is expected to house 500 families in the area.
Pillay said land invasion by people who are not from the Ward was the cause of unrest in the area.
The land invasion came after Abahlali Basemjondolo’s interim court interdict against eThekwini, which permits further demolitions of illegal dwellings of 241 listed applicants provided that they should be verified.
Although the interim court interdict prevents the city from demolishing structures of the verified applicants, the Land Invasion Unit is still operating as normal and responds to cases of reported land invasion.
Mthembu said the Municipality will not stand opportunistic people who are determined in invading land, by abusing the interim court interdict.
“As a city, we condemn any acts of land invasion because there are development and regeneration plans in the pipeline in eThekwini, which will improve the lives of all residents,” said Mthembu.
However, it was agreed that before construction of the housing project, a steering committee has to be established and there must be clear communication channels to keep residents regularly informed on the developments of the project.
Ward Councillor Reginald Cloete and community leaders had agreed to hold a meeting on Wednesday evening with residents to provide feedback on the meeting with the leadership and inform them on the housing project.
Meanwhile, Mthembu added that he had met with the local leadership from Bonela following unrest as a result of land invasion by people who are believed to be from other Wards.
“Talks to ensure that the matter is completely resolved are underway. Police will continue to ensure that law and order is maintained in the area,” he said.